A higher VA disability rating depends on a veteran providing the proper evidence. This includes medical records from military service, private doctors, and VA medical centers. Also, a nexus letter completed by an accredited representative is a must.
If it’s been years since your original rating, the VA can schedule a reevaluation of your condition. This means a new Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam.
In most cases, increasing your disability rating will not result in a greater monthly compensation check from the VA. However, a higher rating can make you eligible for other benefits, including supplemental payments for dependents.
One of the best ways to increase your VA disability rating is to provide persuasive medical evidence. This can include records from private doctors, military medical facilities, and therapists.
It’s also helpful to submit evidence regarding the severity of your symptoms, such as how much pain you experience and how it impacts your daily activities. Veterans should also consider filing claims for secondary service-connected conditions, such as sleep apnea or migraine headaches, to help improve their ratings. Adding these additional disabilities will increase their overall rating percentage and could lead to larger payouts.
File a Request for Reconsideration
Determining the proper rating for a veteran’s disability requires close attention to medical and other evidence and a thorough understanding of VA regulations on the subject. If you are unhappy with your current disability rating, there are steps to take to get a review and increase.
The first step is to file a request for reconsideration. An accredited representative can help you with this.
In a reconsideration, you ask the reviewer to reconsider their decision, focusing on new evidence submitted since the original decision was made. This is an excellent time to include statements from friends and family who can testify about the nature of your symptoms and how they impact you. This can effectively counter the VA’s fuzzy math calculation method when calculating your combined disability rating.
Request a Secondary Service Connection
Many health conditions are comorbid, and many injuries, illnesses, and symptoms can trigger other issues. This is known as a secondary service connection, and it can increase your disability rating and benefits.
To file for a secondary service connection, you must first prove that your primary disability caused or aggravated another condition. This is typically done through medical evidence, but veterans can also submit lay statements describing how their existing service-connected disability led to the development of a new symptom or condition.
To support your claim, you should include evidence from your service treatment records, private medical documents, and a Nexus Letter (Independent Medical Opinion). It is highly recommended that you seek the assistance of a veteran’s disability attorney to create a bulletproof case; you can visit their official website.
Submit a Supplemental Claim
If your disability rating does not reflect your current condition or the degree to which your condition prevents you from maintaining gainful employment, you can submit a supplemental claim. A supplemental claim is similar to a request for reconsideration and involves adding new evidence, like medical examinations, tests, or other information you still need to submit.
To submit a supplemental claim, veterans must provide identifying information, including their name and social security number, as well as the date of the decision notice in which they were awarded, denied, or partially granted. In addition, they must identify the issues they would like the VA to review in their supplemental claim. They must also include any new and relevant evidence they need assistance obtaining, such as treatment records from VA medical centers.
Obtain a Nexus Letter
A nexus letter is one of the most powerful tools in a veteran’s arsenal when fighting to get their disability claim approved. It’s a medical opinion stating that the in-service stressor was more likely than not responsible for the veteran’s current condition.
Medical professionals typically write nexus letters evaluating the connection between a veteran’s current medical condition and military service. They should be comprehensive and include a review of the veteran’s medical history, a reference to medical research, and a thorough statement of their professional opinion.
Having a detailed and expertly drafted nexus letter can help your case tremendously. It’s an effective way to bridge gaps in your medical evidence and increase the likelihood that the VA will award you a higher disability rating.